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Mediation letters basic overview example

It sometimes happens in business that you act as a mediator, or that resolving differences between parties on a contract is necessary.

BE WARNED: Even if you employ a mediator, you need to be able to watch and understand the process of mediation.

Mediation is the resolution of views which can be diametrically opposed.

To mediate effectively, you must:

  • Establish points of difference
  • Establish points of agreement
  • Discover what each party wants
  • Get definitions of working solutions from each party

From this is formulated a resolution. It can be a lengthy process, and you need to get things moving and organized. Some parties are inefficient, some are immovable, in theory. The result is a mess.

The main function of the mediation letter is to get the process operational.

The parties, having made statements in writing in response to your letter, have made commitments. So your letter is designed to clarify issues, and pin down actual solutions acceptable to the parties.

One letter can reduce the points of contention to much lower levels.

Having agreed on some points, the conflicts are less aggravating, and the parties are more likely to believe they can work together to resolve the issues.

  • Remember: As a mediator you're neutral at all times.

There are a few Don'ts in this process:

DO NOT:

  • Give the impression you have preferences for options.
  • Make any statement in direct conflict with the interests of any party.
  • If you're an interested party, give the impression of any preferences being given to any of the other parties.

The example below is from a contractor to two subcontractors. The subcontractors have a dispute which is disrupting performance of the contract. The contractor wants answers to the problem, and needs to know what the subcontractors need to resolve the dispute.

Note the last point in the request for information. One of the most common reasons for problems in resolving disputes is that both parties 'know' what the other party thinks or wants. Usually this is a case of misinterpretation. It's important in mediation to obtain this information, because it's an obstacle to any settlement.

Note also: The contractor is making a point in the final paragraph that arbitrary action is possible under the contract. This is an unambiguous statement of intent as an incentive for a response.

Example

Business letterhead

Addressee

Your reference
Our reference
Contacts

Dear….

Disputes regarding ABC Complex construction contract

I refer to recent disputes concerning supply of services under the above contract between your firm (name) and (name of other party).

We'd like to obtain definitive responses from both parties regarding the nature of these disputes, and possible resolution scenarios.

Please advise:

  • The specific bases of these disputes.
  • Any factors like costs or times related to the disputes.
  • What actions are required to resolve the disputes.
  • Your view of the reasons why disputes haven't been resolved.

We are prepared to consider any suggestions by the parties for a resolution of these disputes. Upon receipt of your response, we will formulate a suggestion for resolution.

Please note: We are anxious to proceed with this contract as soon as possible. We consider any action under terms of the contract to take arbitrary actions would be counterproductive at this point. However, if the matter can't be resolved, we will be obliged to take such action as necessary.

Please contact the writer directly if you require any further information or clarification of the requirements of this letter.

Yours sincerely

Sign
Title
Date

Disclaimer

Please note:

  • This text is intended for advisory and guideline purposes only.
  • Any business letter can become a legal document, so check your content properly before issuing.
  • Any executable or statutorily defined document should be checked for compliance with legal requirements, and you should seek legal advice regarding its contents.
         


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